Decision Support Systems

Document and Content Management Solutions

We have undertaken document and content management systems for a number of major banking and insurance companies:

The improvements enabled by document and content management systems increased customer services levels, reduced process costs, increased speed of customer query handling, reduced real estate requirements, improved headcount efficiency, provided greater performance management insight.

Through the effective conversion of paper documents to an electronic content format (as well as the conversion of microfiche to an electronic system) enabled with process management and reporting capabilities we enabled dramatic improvements to the business. Some of the core benefits achieved across these companies include:

Reduced costs, increased speed of response, compliance and increased business agility:

Via a software driven document and content management system a large insurer was able to meet their Freedom of Information Act and Data Protection Act requirements for millions of customers at less than a quarter of their budgeted cost, through effectively ‘piggy-backing’ the required forms with other mail-outs and then using automated data capture and forms recognition to capture the required responses automatically.  This required implementing a front end forms processing solution to their document scanning system which automatically recognised the form type, extracted the hand printed information, cross checked it with the existing customer data base and updated the relevant fields for compliance.  All of this was achieved without the need for data entry staff.  This customer was concerned during testing that the quality controller had not seen a rejected form for manual update – further testing demonstrated that data extraction accuracy was running at 99.98% and they had not run enough forms through during testing to have had any ‘failures’ routed through for manual checking!

For a number of major utility companies an electronic document management solution enabled the capture of billing ‘print output’ as electronic ‘pages’ rather than physically printed documents. This print output management solution enabled a raft of changes and cost benefits for these organisations.  Making bills available on-line, via the content management system saved on printing and distribution/mailing costs.  Storing the original print output meant providing subsequent copies of customer bills was fast, efficient and low cost compared to the original arduous process.  A similar document management solution was implemented for a banking organisation where a customer request for a copy of a previous statement had taken almost four weeks.  With the document solution implemented customers were able to access copies of their previous statements ‘self service’ on-line or a printed copy could be mailed out on the day of the request.

For retail companies we made internal reports available via the web (intranet). Users could access the document information when they wanted and from where they wanted.  Document printing and distribution costs were reduced and in many cases eliminated.  The cost of audits was slashed due to the speed with which the required information was available.  In some case companies had been printing documents and reports of many hundred pages and distributing them to each branch where they were stored for audit purposes.  Analysis showed that in most cases the branch manager was only required to look at ten pages or less.  By making the report available from the branch managers’ PCs in electronic form the print, paper, distribution, storage and use costs were slashed.  Managers were able to go directly to the relevant electronically indexed pages without having to leaf through the hundreds of other pages in the report.  In another company once they had gone electronic they analysed access patterns to discover that 90% of the company reports they produced were never accessed.  A subsequent audit showed that most of these were no longer required and had continued to be produced despite the change in process or requirements to which they related – a new and often consolidated report had been produced, but the old ones never deleted.

For a leading European insurer the capture of microfiche into electronic images with the effective use of image cleanup and quality improvement technology enabled previously ‘unreadable’ microfiche to become easily legible images as part of their customer service document management system.  This enabled more rapid research into customer queries and requests and more effective use of the stored information to support customer service levels.

By removing the need for paper storage companies were able to free up substantial amounts of office and warehouse space which had previously been retained purely for document storage.  When an entire warehouse full of documents can be stored in a machine which takes up no more room than one filing cabinet the impact is significant.  Added to this is the ease of back-up and the reduced risk to the business (from fire, flood, attack or the like).  Furthermore the difference in speed of access is astonishing.  Companies that previously ran systems of ‘document requests’ where the request was sent to the warehouse and the archive clerks would then locate the document and tag it before sending it to the customer service rep/legal department, who would deal with the task before sending it back to the warehouse where it would be filed can now access the document in a matter of seconds from their PC.  This reduces the cost of transactions, shortens business processes, increases customer satisfaction, reduces the need for customer call backs, enables collaboration of teams on one document at the same time from multiple locations and enables client access via the web for self service query handling.

A utility company was able to archive older e-mail, allowing a host of benefits:

  • E-mail speed/performance was improved for users.  By removing huge quantities of older e-mails from the ‘live’ system the existing hardware and software was able to perform more efficiently.  This resulted in faster search and retrieval times for active e-mails and reduced network impacts to the rest of the infrastructure.
  • Infrastructure costs for the rapidly growing e-mail system were controlled and reduced below original projections through the effective use of hierarchical storage management.  By moving older and less active e-mails out of the primary active e-mail system (whilst retaining access to them) the hardware required by the live system is dramatically reduced.  Longer term storage of older and less active e-mails can be cost effectively managed using a range of storage options.
  • Business integrity was retained by enabling low cost storage of older e-mails and company records rather than implementing mail box limits where people might accidentally delete pertinent or important or compliance information; or risking local PC storage (which was outside the corporate back-up/recovery process).
  • Instant access was retained by users from their e-mail client to older e-mails.
  • Extra flexibility was provided through the ability to store multi-media files in a secure content store.

The above was implemented in line with an agreed architecture for future growth which would enable future integration of document management, content management and archived SAP data – all within the same architecture and with the lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Electronic Document and Content – Flexible Working Models

Removal of geographical barriers enabling work to be carried out in the location best suited, or with the best skills, without the time and cost overheads of mailing, faxing, photocopying or courier.  In some cases this enabled international operations to run 24/7 by shifting workloads electronically around the world time zones.

In one case the complete transition from back-office processes being handled within branch to being consolidated to centralised processing centres was assisted greatly by the ability to convert physical documents to electronic format and make them available at the appropriate processing centre.

Fast efficient back-up and disaster resilience for information and ‘knowledge’ of value.  In one case a large insurer was able to keep working when their primary office was cordoned off after a terrorist attack – by accessing their back-up of scanned documents from another location.

In another insurance company case the cost of dealing with location specific claim events which increased peak work-loads in a particular location was dramatically reduced by being able to electronically transfer claims forms and associated documents and photos to other branches (previously they had had to fly claims handlers to the local area to handle the peak load of claims resulting from such a localised catastrophe).

For one financial company the scanning of millions of signature cards enabled the removal of the huge cost of overnight secure couriers who had previously had to transfer signature cards from each ‘home’ branch to the branch where the cheque had been presented.  The conversion of these cards to electronic format enabled centralisation of the process into regional processing centres where the appropriate comparative image could be brought up alongside the cheque image for rapid verification. This was one of a number of key steps to enable the organisation to remove major back-office processing tasks from the branch and gain greater leverage from their skills base.

From a world leading technology company to a manufacturer of vehicle engines we delivered Accounts Payable invoice processing solutions. Capturing invoices from the web as electronic documents, from e-mail and from physical paper and being able to capture the data automatically, allows immediately correlation and validation against the original purchase order. In some cases companies choose to also scan delivery documents or to run on-line delivery confirmation systems to run automatic three way matching.  In one case for a substantial sized organisation staff efficiency was increase by 800% – having digitised the process they were able to consolidate their invoice processing from across Europe and in the one central location were able to process four times as many invoices with half the number of staff.  Invoice processing costs were reduced from several dollars per invoice to less than $1/invoice.  The digitisation of paper invoices subsequently enabled cross-shore processing to further dive down costs and transition to a ‘negative confirmation’ process to reduce the workload across the business – images of the invoice were made available via the web/intranet to the person who raised/authorised the original requisition.

Improved Performance Management – Business process management (BPM) & Monitoring

For a number of organisations the use of electronic process management either integrated with or embedded within the document handling system ensured key metrics were made available on a real-time basis.  This enabled better understanding of the time and effort required to resolve standard document centric tasks.  Individual user performance was reported to reveal who needed additional training, which document types took the longest to transact, which customers cost the most in processing time and many other key metrics which enabled process (and product) changes to improve the performance of the company.  Some companies choose to reveal performance data to the customer/end user so that they can see how far through the process their item has progressed and when they can expect a response/resolution.

Some companies used automatic document analysis to route documents to the most appropriate employee for the task and others routed documents to ‘work queues’ where teams were allocated the next item from the list.  In using work queues combined with performance metrics managers were alerted early to any peak loads or the overloading of particular staff or teams.  Through early awareness of the work load and time-to-perform managers were able to allocate additional staff as required to ensure Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and customer response time expectations were met.

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